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Classified ad for Revalenta arabica from The Courier (Hobart, Tasmania) November 1, 1856, p. 4.

Revalenta Arabica, or Ervalenta, was a preparation sold in the 18th century as an empirical diet for patients, extraordinary restorative virtues being attributed to it.

The product that was mass-marketed was, in reality, only a preparation of the common lentil, its first name being formed for disguise by the transposition of its earlier botanical name, Ervum lens. While indeed lentils are a healthy and nutritious food, Revalenta Arabica's value was about similar to the common pea-meal (or ground split peas).


The real Revalenta arabica is the "root" of Glossostemon bruguieri. The roots were sold under the name Arabgossi.[1] In Egypt, they are known as Moghat. The original plant of the product was unknown for a long time, until the German Africa explorer and botanician Georg Schweinfurth discovered Glossostemon bruguieri as its source.[2]

They are prepared as a light dish for ailing or ill persons. Plant and usage are described already in Firdous al-Hikmah („Paradise of Wisdom“) of Ali al-Tabari, a medicinal encyclopedia from the 9th century AD.[2][3]


  1. ^ Adolf Engler, Carl Prantl: Die Natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien nebst ihren Gattungen und wichtigeren Arten insbesondere den Nutzpflanzen. W. Engelmann, Leipzig 1887. Nachträge zu III. 6. S. 241
  2. ^ a b p. 35 of Max Meyerhof: Alî at-Tabarî's „Paradise of Wisdom“, one of the oldest Arabic Compendiums of Medicine. In: Isis. Tome 16, Nr. 1 (July 1931), pp. 6–54.
  3. ^ „Paradise of Wisdom“ chapter 245